Hydrogen Bonding in Helical Polypeptides from Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Amide Hydrogen Exchange Analysis: Alamethicin and Melittin in Methanol

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Molecular dynamics simulations of ion channel peptides alamethicin and melittin, solvated in methanol at 27°C, were run with either regular α-helical starting structures (alamethicin, 1 ns; melittin 500 ps either with or without chloride counterions), or with the x-ray crystal coordinates of alamethicin as a starting structure (1 ns). The hydrogen bond patterns and stabilities were characterized by analysis of the dynamics trajectories with specified hydrogen bond angle and distance criteria, and were compared with hydrogen bond patterns and stabilities previously determined from high-resolution NMR structural analysis and amide hydrogen exchange measurements in methanol. The two alamethicin simulations rapidly converged to a persistent hydrogen bond pattern with a high level of 310 hydrogen bonding involving the amide NH's of residues 3, 4, 9, 15, and 18. The 310 hydrogen bonds stabilizing amide NH's of residues C-terminal to P2 and P14 were previously proposed to explain their high amide exchange stabilities. The absence, or low levels of 310 hydrogen bonds at the N-terminus or for A15 NH, respectively, in the melittin simulations, is also consistent with interpretations from amide exchange analysis. Perturbation of helical hydrogen bonding in the residues before P14 (Aib10-P14, alamethicin; T11-P14, melittin) was characterized in both peptides by variable hydrogen bond patterns that included π and γ hydrogen bonds. The general agreement in hydrogen bond patterns determined in the simulations and from spectroscopic analysis indicates that with suitable conditions (including solvent composition and counterions where required), local hydrogen-bonded secondary structure in helical peptides may be predicted from dynamics simulations from α-helical starting structures. Each peptide, particularly alamethicin, underwent some large amplitude structural fluctuations in which several hydrogen bonds were cooperatively broken. The recovery of the persistent hydrogen bonding patterns after these fluctuations demonstrates the stability of intramolecular hydrogen-bonded secondary structure in methanol (consistent with spectroscopic observations), and is promising for simulations on extended timescales to characterize the nature of the backbone fluctuations that underlie amide exchange from isolated helical polypeptides.
Translated title of the contributionHydrogen bonding in helical polypeptides from molecular dynamics simulations and amide hydrogen exchange analysis: alamethicin and melittin in methanol
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-152
Number of pages15
JournalBiophysical Journal
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998


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